Match Info AEK Larnaca vs West Ham – 2023-03-09
West Ham United look to continue their impressive form after beating AEK Larnaca 2-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 tie.
Halfway through the first half, AEK Larnaca caused some concern for West Ham with some dangerous crosses, with Rafael Lopes almost scoring from a corner delivery in the 19th minute. However, Manuel Lanzini had the Hammers’ first notable opportunity on the half-hour mark, dragging his shot wide of Kenan Pirić’s post, before Michail Antonio scored twice before the break to give the English side a comfortable lead going into the second leg.
On the brink of halftime, AEK had a chance to equalize but their captain, Marko Livaja, failed to hit the target from close range after a clever pass from Omri Altman. The second half began with a series of fouls and misplaced passes, with neither team able to take control of the game. Eventually, West Ham regained their composure and put the game beyond doubt with a third goal from Benrahma in the 68th minute.
AEK Larnaka 0-2 West Ham: The Hammers have now won more games in the UEFA Europa Conference League (7) than the Premier League (6) in 2022-23… and we're not even including qualifiers. pic.twitter.com/7cTcJwwU7A
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) March 9, 2023
Antonio nearly completed his hat-trick after the interval but saw his shot hit the post, and both teams made triple substitutions around the hour mark, resulting in a drop in West Ham’s tempo despite their earlier control. Flynn Downes was booked for a challenge on Omri Altman, which rules him out of the second leg, and Kurt Zouma escaped punishment after a tricky moment in his own penalty area.
In the dying minutes of the game, Lucas Paquetá failed to convert a clear chance after being put through by Maxwel Cornet, and Alphonse Areola made a crucial save to deny Ivan Trichkowski and secure West Ham’s second win in their last seven matches across all competitions, giving them a commanding lead going into the second leg at London Stadium. Meanwhile, AEK’s unbeaten run of four games in the UECL came to an end, leaving the Cypriot side with a difficult task in the second leg.